Broadcast Engineering calls it a “shakeup” of the television business Model.
Disney CEO Robert Iger is quoted as saying, “We will no longer be slave to the old business models because consumers just don’t care about them.”
Of course, this will be interesting for local television stations and even cable operators. What do those local (and regional and national) players bring to the deal? With ABC news getting leaner and leaner, is the local news affiliate of any worth? Or is the news division – in need of live-access for breaking stories – going to be split off from entertainment, or does ABC exit the news business altogether?
This is probably the first of many moves by national players in leaving the old, locally tied business model. In TV, the PAX network, WB and UPN were created to gain local access and cable must-carry into homes across the nation at a bargain rate compared to fighting with cable-carriage. But PAX seems to be going away, WB and UPN are merging — will there be enough home-shopping channels to fill these swaths of TV spectrum (and the added cost of running them in HD?)
The ramifications in public media – and especially public radio – loom large. Disney / ABC is a very large company with many different interests. One would presume they are thinking that losses in the broadcast sector can be recovered, in part, through their deep and diverse intellectual property holdings. But what if NPR, PRI or American Public Media follow the same “direct” philosophy with their most valuable programming?
Robert Iger seems unworried about what ABC loses – even at Owned and Operated TV stations. Some in public radio are similarly unconcerned about local public radio stations in a direct-connect world.